The 2023 NFL free agency period has seen no shortage of lucrative deals for big-name veterans. Sometimes the biggest contracts end up being the best. And sometimes it's the overlooked agreements that prove most impactful. As the offseason continues to unfold, we're identifying some of our favorite values from the early trades and signings:
8. Eagles sign RB Rashaad Penny
Counting on Penny isn't necessarily a safe bet; the former first-rounder has played all of 28 games the last four seasons, battling multiple serious injuries. When he's active, however, he's brought some serious pop alongside impressive size (5-11, 220), giving the Eagles the type of physical home-run hitter they've lacked for a while. His deal (1 year, $1.35M) will likely result in huge savings compared to whatever his predecessor, Miles Sanders, commands on the market. And he'll be paired with Kenneth Gainwell, Boston Scott and possibly another rookie back anyway.
7. Dolphins sign LB David Long
The Titans let Long, 26, walk after persistent battles with soft-tissue injuries. But when healthy, the former sixth-rounder has been productive in basically every facet, especially against the run, and Miami sorely needed some starting experience at the heart of a rebuilt defense. His deal (2 years, $11M) also registers as a potential steal in a market where guys like Tremaine Edmunds ($18M) and Foyesade Oluokun ($15M) cashed in despite uneven resumes over the last two years.
6. Commanders sign OT Andrew Wylie
Orlando Brown Jr. was the big-name Chiefs lineman hitting free agency, but Wylie found a new home quicker, and he'll probably end up being the better value. While he may have benefitted from Patrick Mahomes' acrobatic pocket movement in Kansas City, the 28-year-old logged 59 starts -- plus 11 in the playoffs -- at multiple spots over four years, grading out as an above-average pass blocker during the Chiefs' latest title run. As a bonus, his contract (3 years, $24M) means he's clocking in as the 11th-highest-paid right tackle in the game -- a bargain for a team in dire need of any help up front.
5. Steelers sign CB Patrick Peterson
Retaining the physical Cameron Sutton would've been nice, but adding Peterson after somewhat of an age-32 renaissance is a great consolation prize for Pittsburgh. By himself, he's not necessarily the do-it-all playmaker from his Cardinals prime, but Peterson repeatedly kept an otherwise porous Vikings defense alive in key moments during his 2022 campaign. The Steelers are only committing top-30 money (2 years, $14M) for a plug-and-play outside starter, and Peterson should thrive by leaning on the range of safety Minkah Fitzpatrick as part of Mike Tomlin's squad.
4. Eagles re-sign CB James Bradberry
Losing Darius Slay is no fun for the Eagles, who released the cornerback after failing to strike a new deal with Bradberry's energetic running mate. But Bradberry's own return looks all the more important in the wake of it. Yes, he's going on 30, but his three-year, $38M extension ($12.6M per year) is quite team-friendly, coming in at roughly 13th among average annual CB payouts. Consider that Slay was averaging $16.6M per year at age 32, and would've been owed $26M in 2023 alone. A bit steadier than his counterpart in 2022, Bradberry has now proven to be Pro Bowl-caliber for three different teams.
3. Vikings sign DE Marcus Davenport
The former Saints first-rounder may have a bigger name than resume after logging more than six sacks just once in his five-year run with New Orleans. But it's not often you get an experienced 26-year-old edge rusher for barely top 25 money at the position (1 year, $13M). With double-digit QB hit marks in three seasons, Davenport at least projects as a serviceable starter opposite Danielle Hunter. And let's say he breaks out under Brian Flores; then he'll either be primed to serve as a building block or cash in as a 2024 free agent, returning the Vikings a premium compensatory pick.
2. Dolphins acquire CB Jalen Ramsey
Going on 29, Ramsey may not be the same shutdown force he was during his peak with the Rams. But he'll average roughly $18M per year over the remaining three years of his extension, which is just outside the top five cornerback deals in average annual value. He was also acquired for a third-rounder and sparingly used backup tight end, making him a high-reward bargain for a revamped defense now under Vic Fangio's oversight. Ramsey's desire to play in Miami surely benefited the Dolphins, who now have one of the most formidable cover duos, with Xavien Howard still in tow.
1. Bears acquire WR D.J. Moore
The 2022 season provided ample evidence that an alpha wideout can make a world of difference for a young QB, with the Dolphins and Eagles witnessing seismic leaps from their respective signal-callers thanks in part due to veteran additions downfield. Chicago wisely followed suit by acquiring Moore in its move down from the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Besides the fact the Bears added premium draft capital (an additional first-rounder, plus two second-rounders) in the swap, Moore will only be 26 in 2023, he's already signed through 2025 at a reasonable $20M per year (ranked 10th among wideouts) and he gives Justin Fields a clear-cut No. 1, having compiled 5,200 receiving yards over five years -- with shoddy QB play -- in Carolina. It would've been hard for the Bears to find a better short- and long-term upgrade at a position of need.